Vanity, Zoom Zoom

Trip Start Nov 22, 2004
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Trip End Dec 01, 2004


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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Nothing blew us from the sky, our little plane soared over Texas and Loos-i-ana and Arkansas in early-morning efficiency, me feeling halfway decent and awake. I could see the snake-like twisting of the river, early morning sun reflecting back, from far far down below. It's like a map, I'd like to be a bird and fly around, no guards at airports pointing x-rays at my skin, beeping at the metal in my hair barrette. Just think of birds! They even get excused from pooping on our heads. But they eat bugs, and never get ice cream. What was that story I read to my kids, when they were small? The little rabbit, who wanted wings? He got his wish, but it didn't work for the rabbit, and probably wouldn't work for me. I'll keep my feet, and wits, they've served me well, so far.

It's time to use them now, we're on the ground. Off and down, get the luggage next, now get the car. A shuttle? Go outside and wait, car rental several miles away. We turn right, then left, onto a boulevard, the land is wide and flat. How many parking lots? How many cars? This place is not a compact walking town. A zillion cars for rent, which bargain is the best? Big spikes are snarling, right beside the exit gates, don't drive against the grain, we'll pierce your tires and you'll be walking dude. Expensive assets, cars. The shuttle drops us off, brand by brand. I'm Hertz.

I have my documents in hand. License, confirmation, credit card. Compact to mid-sized, I have reserved. She flips the papers, stamps, hands me some keys. Your Chevy Cavalier is over there, she points, they'll bring it up. I see the car, and balk. It looks old-fashioned, granny shoes. I hand her back the keys. I wanted a Toyota, I politely state. Let's see what else you have. She sighed and shook her head. You want a Mazda then?

Well, yes, I do. A Mazda will be fine. More stamping, flipping, then new keys. There it is, she said, and pointed once again. The car was red, the sporty kind, ground-hugging steel, who-knew-what beneath the hood. Zoom zoom. She's mocking me, I thought, and then thrust out my chin. I would not ask for something else again. Zoom zoom indeed. I stashed my bags inside the trunk, sat down. I could hardly see. The seat was slanted back, do sportsters really lie reclining while they drive? I fiddled buttons, windows up and down, door locks clicked. How to fix the seat? It would not sit up straight? I saw the woman watching, from inside. That's it, I thought, I'm leaving NOW, and buckled up.

Inspector at the gate, may I see your papers please? The seatbelt pulls across my neck, I'm nearly choking now, can you tell me how to fix this seat? Maam, there's a button on the side, keep moving please, there's a line behind. I watch the spikes and drive on through.

I have no clue which street to take, my bloodhound nose perceives what must be south. A strip of stores at last, a parking lot. Stop here, and get yourself on track, I say. Wisdom wins, at last. I get out of the car, look at the seat. I hook the Garmin up, peruse the map. I go inside, and buy myself a Coke, with ice.

My sports car has a place for cups, I note, and smile.
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